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Short Subjectives

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics


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DANCER IN THE DARK (R) Danish upstart Lars von Trier's latest film continues the director's love of feverish melodrama. Icelandic avant-garde pixie Bjork stars as a Czech immigrant factory worker who is gradually losing her sight but finds escape in the music of her mind as the world crumbles around her. This winner of the Palme d'Or and a Best Female Performance for Bjork at the Cannes Film Festival is a risk-taking marvel sure to divide audiences who will either love or hate it. -- FF

DIGIMON: THE MOVIE (PG) Based on the animated television series, the movie is an attempt by 20th Century Fox to compete with Warner Bros. and its Pokémon films in the anime market. The big-screen version centers on the show's main children characters who, along with the help of the good Digital Monsters, must save the world from a new, diabolical Digimon and its cohorts.

DR. T AND THE WOMEN (R) 1/2 Robert Altman follows up last year's sleeper Cookie's Fortune with another laid-back venture down south, depicting a beloved Dallas OB-GYN (Richard Gere) whose personal and professional life is inundated with women (including Helen Hunt, Farrah Fawcett and Kate Hudson). The film's tone, music and performances couldn't be more agreeable, but it never makes much of a point and tries to convey an appreciation for women while, paradoxically, painting most of them as foolish or flighty. -- CH

DUETS (R) Character actor Bruce Paltrow directs his Oscar-winning daughter Gwyneth in an odd dramedy about three couples on a cross-country collision course at a karaoke contest. The film is never as revealing about "karaoke kulture" as you might expect, but it's probably wise to emphasize the mismatched buddies of burnt-out businessman Paul Giamatti and ex-con Andre Braugher (the only one of the leads who doesn't do own singing). -- CH

THE EXORCIST A longer cut of the head-spinning, soup-spewing 1973 classic includes the restoration of creepy (if unnecessary) scenes and sound effects of supernatural goings-on, as well as more dialogue for Max Von Sydow in the title role. The re-release has undiminished power to horrify, and, more strikingly, offers a telling reminder of how textured and mature the films of the 1970s could be. -- CH

GET CARTER (R) The Italian Stallion is back and seeking vengeance in this remake of the 1971 film. In the new version, Sylvester Stallone's character, Jack Carter, walks a fine line between revenge and redemption after he returns home to attend his brother's funeral. Carter, a loan shark collector, soon discovers that his brother's death wasn't an accident, and he reluctantly teams up with his teenage niece, played by Rachael Leigh Cook (She's All That), to solve the mystery and bring his brother's killers to justice.

GIRLFIGHT (R) This smart, beautifully assured debut film from Karyn Kusama follows Brooklyn mean-streets teen Diana from aimless troublemaker to self-assured boxing diva. Michelle Rodriguez is remarkable in the lead, refusing to cave into the world of girly-girls and he-males but instead defining her identity on her own terms in this clever but never less than wholly entertaining riff on sexual politics. -- FF

IMAX AT FERNBANK ADVENTURES IN WILD CALIFORNIA (NR) It's "California Dreamin'" for the new millennium as IMAX and Everest director Greg MacGillivray pack a lot of extreme sports and environmentalism into 40 unhurried minutes, including sky- and sea-surfing sequences that put Hollywood movie stunts and special effects to shame. You'll see baby otters and bald eagles being prepared by humans for life in the wild and trees that have lived for 3000 years. You'll ride a roller coaster at Disneyland, walk down the red carpet at the Academy Awards and descend 125 feet into a hollow space in an ancient sequoia. -- SW Shows daily at 11 a.m. and 1, 3, 5 and 9 p.m. on Fridays MYSTERIES OF EGYPT Omar Sharif hosts this sensory exploration of the Nile, the Valley of the Kings and modern Egyptian culture. Shows daily at 10 a.m., noon, 2 and 7 p.m. on Fridays DOLPHINS Narrated by Pierce Brosnan, this documentary takes a playful look at the life and times of Atlantic spotted, dusky and bottlenose dolphins. 4 p.m. daily and 10 p.m. on Fridays. Films run from Sept. 5 through Jan. 1 at Fernbank Museum, 767 Clifton Road.

THE LADIES MAN (R) 1/2 If you find Leon Phelps, Tim Meadows' clueless, lisping, stuck-in-the-'70s womanizer, amusing in seven-minute doses on "SNL," you'll enjoy scattered moments of his big-screen adventure, especially an eating competition that puts the "barf" in "bar food." Fired from his late-night talk show, Leon is unaware of a group of angry husbands out to castrate him while a mystery woman from his past wants to support him. I've seen worse movies but few that felt like such a total waste of my time. -- SW

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